Weighing The Pros And Cons Of Snapchat For Branding

This story was originally published on Amplify Talent.

Brands are increasingly migrating to Snapchat and some are finding measurable success. If you’ve researched your target audience and determined Snapchat makes sense for your branding portfolio — be aware you need to develop an entirely new approach.

Snapchat is unlike any other social platform. It’s all about capturing a moment — through video and photo. You can customize these moments with filters, emojis, text, and drawing. No links, no self-promotional “thought leadership” blog posts or auto-scheduled posts — just moments.

As Snapchat is all about the real-time sharing, metrics and analytics are not easy to gather. This presents unique challenges for branders who want to measure engagement and ROI.

Here are a few things to consider when using Snapchat for branding:

Followers in social are often considered a vanity metric. They don’t necessarily illustrate engagement (considering they can be bought on most platforms), but are often one of the first metrics brands review to gauge how popular they are.

Snapchat doesn’t provide follower counts. You can determine how many people viewed your story, but that’s it. This presents some challenges when trying to measure overall channel ROI and reach.

ENGAGEMENT METRICS

Branders have grown accustomed to likes, hearts, and +1’s to help them gauge their audience’s reactions to their content on social media. That real-time feedback, and the robust analytics built into most social media platforms and third party tools, allows branders to gauge which types of content are resonating with their audience and adjust accordingly.

Snapchat does not provide any way to engage with content in an easily trackable way. You can see real-time views on your Story Snaps, and manually measure Snap backs (replies) if you ask your audience to engage with your Snaps, but tracking must be done manually outside of Snapchat.

LINKS

Social Media is increasingly used for content distribution over conversation. Social channels like Facebook and Twitter are becoming concerned with the lack of original content being shared. That’s not an issue on Snacpchat as all content (outside of brand content in the Discovery section) is user-generated. This is ideal for conversation, but makes it difficult for brands to promote content outside of the Snapchat ecosystem.

You can use text links, but have no measurable way to source track that back to Snapchat unless you use designated custom url shorteners like bit.ly. That works, but it’s a more manual process than branders fluent on other social media channels are accustomed to measuring.

PROFILES

Most social networks allow you to create a user profile to tell the world who you are and what your audience can expect from you content-wise. Snapchat does not. Your username, score and snap code (a QR-type code with a five photo gif profile image) are all followers will see.

This makes it difficult to drive organic growth from within the Snapchat ecosystem. You will need to develop a multi-channel approach (i.e. use your snap code as your profile photo on other social media platforms — example below) to drive awareness and followers to your account. Oh, and be sure to create great content to keep them.

CONTENT

The real-time photo/video sharing nature of Snapchat means that content is shared live. This means that brands and users who are accustomed to using scheduling tools to maintain their social media accounts will need to manage their Snapchat presence directly.

The nature of Snapchat content also requires more creativity to be compelling, as all content is photo/video based.

Being on Snapchat is easy. Being interesting on Snapchat is much harder.

TALENT BRAND ON SNAPCHAT

Snapchat lacks the branding history of established channels like Facebook and Twitter. Those more proven channels tend to have multi-account branding strategies for “Corporate” and “Employer” brand.

We’re in the early stages of Snapchat maturing as a branding platform. This means that many brands are using their Snapchat accounts to convey Consumer AND Employer Brand stories.

This convergence of Consumer and Employer brand is creating opportunities for companies to showcase their talent as well as their products. GE is doing a great job with this, as they’re making a huge push to redefine perceptions of GE as a company and employer.

Everlane, Converse, Hubspot, hootsuite, Mailchimp and other corporate accounts have also used Snapchat to showcase their people.

As few companies have distinct Snapchat handles for consumer and employer, I expect this trend of featuring employees on corporate channels will accelerate the convergence of “one brand” and demonstrate Talent Brand’s ability to influence Consumer and Employer Brand outcomes.

What do you think? Who else is doing a great job on Snapchat? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.


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About the author

Lars Schmidt is the Founder of Amplify Talent and Co-Founder of HR Open Source. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat.